A machine press, or a forming press, is a machine tool that is used in production in order to shape metal. The purpose of the press is to apply pressure onto the metal, usually into a mold, which forces the metal to take shape. There are many different kinds of presses that can produce the desired result. Some work for certain projects better than others do.
Although there are many different types of presses such as gap-frame, end-wheel, and straight-side, they are more easily described by the three main mechanisms that power the presses. Here we discuss all three types and their different applications.
A hydraulic press uses a hydraulic cylinder to generate the compression force required to shape the metal. The idea behind the hydraulic press is similar to that of Pascal’s principle. This principle states that pressure on a confined fluid is transmitted undiminished and acts with equal force on equal areas within a closed system. This idea allows a small piston, acting as a pump, to create enough force to compress and shape metal.
The common application for hydraulic presses are the following:
- Deep drawing
- Metal forming
A machine press uses mechanical features to generate a compression force. The idea is similar to when blacksmith’s used hammers to shape metal. Today, however, they use steam and electricity to power the hammer. Mechanical engineering has continued to improve the machine over the years and now it is extremely efficient. The different types of machine
presses have different applications and here are just some of the options:
- Punch Press: Used to form holes.
- Stamping Press: Used to shape or cut metal, similarly to laser cutting.
- Capping Press: Forms caps from rolls of aluminum.
- Press brake: Bends sheet metal into shape.
These are only a few of the many applications of machine presses. They are very commonly used in factory production for shaping, bending and cutting metal and other materials.
Pneumatic presses are powered by compressed air or compressed gas. The pneumatic systems provide a lower cost, more flexible and safer alternative to electric motors and actuators. The idea of a pneumatic system is to use pressurized gas, similarly to how the hydraulic system uses water, to create a compressive force. Other pneumatic systems you may know are:
- Air brakes
- Air compressors
- Compressed air engines
- Dental drills
- Vacuum pumps
There are many more pneumatic systems that help us every day. The idea of using pressurized gas is not a completely new idea and will not be going away anytime soon due to its simplicity and reliability.
There are other forms of cutting and shaping metals, such as laser cutting and stamping, but the most widely used are some form of a machine press. They are necessary in today’s industrial world, but that does not mean they are not dangerous. All types of industrial machinery are extremely dangerous and should not be taken lightly. Now that you have more information on what a machine press can do, you can appreciate their significance a little more.